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This month we are excited to spotlight Core Element, a local nonprofit promoting quality teaching in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). We sat down with executive director Jan Brenan and operations director Andrea Walker to learn more about their mission and programs. Here is some of what we learned:
Core Element is a regional collaborative effort to improve the caliber of math and science education in schools. They provide professional development training and resources to teachers, and work directly with them, through questionnaires and focus groups to that help identify training needs. Based on this feedback, Core Element provides STEM resources and education that make it easier to promote classroom activities where students are actively involved.
These programs support “moving away from traditional textbook teachers, to the model that emphasizes students being involved in the learning process.” explained Jan.
Core Element also offers a “Hands-On” STEM Summer Camp model, where teachers receive, on the job training working side-by-side with teachers and students. This approach provides practical and tested application skills for the classroom. Their professional development opportunities are free to teachers and offer the opportunity for them to meet and exchange ideas with teachers from other parishes and schools. The “Hands-On” STEM Summer Camp also offers full and partial need-based scholarships for students to ensure access to a diverse group of participants.
In conclusion, Jan noted that “by training teachers to be effective in the classroom we can efficiently reach thousands of students who gain confidence and interest in STEM fields.”
Core Element has trained more than 625 teachers from 345 schools and impacted more than 62,650 students since 2007. To find out how you can get involved with and support Core Element, please visit their website here.
Photo Credit: Core Element